North Carolina Lawmakers Introduce 'Show Me Your Papers' Bill, Follow In Arizona's Footsteps

James Johnson

North Carolina is following in the footsteps of Arizona and Alabama by introducing a new "Show Me Your Papers" bill. The law would provide law enforcement officials with the ability to provide immigration status checks based on "reasonable suspicion."

Known as the Reasonable Enactment of Comprehensive Legislation Addressing Immigration Matters (RECLAIM NC), or HB786, the law would allow law enforcement officers to ask for citizenship papers even if pulling someone over for a minor traffic violation such as a broken head light.

The bill would negate a matricula consular ID used by Mexican nationals. Instead, illegal immigrants would be forced to obtain a vertical, status-identifying driver's license. That license requires the person applying to admit their unlawful status.

Under HB786 law, enforcement officers would also be given permission to "securely transport an alien… to a federal facility." It is quite possible that transportation would be allowed to occur without the consultation of a lawyer. The bill states:

"A law enforcement agency shall obtain judicial or executive authorization from the Governor before securely transporting an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States to a point of transfer that is outside this State."

The RECLAIM NC Act will likely be faced with plenty of opposition after Arizona officials have come under fire for aggressively targeting Hispanic drivers with little to no cause. Studies in Arizona have found that Hispanics are pulled over the minor traffic violations that citizens of other nationalities are able to easily avoid.

Part of the bill is actually an improvement. Lawmakers in North Carolina originally refused to provide driver's licenses to immigrants even though it was required under the Obama Administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

According to ThinkProgress:

"The hurdles posed by North Carolina's law could severely undermine public safety benefits since immigrants would feel more inclined to stay in the shadows rather than to drive with a restricted driver's licenses that bears the words, "no lawful status." Aside from diverting state resources into prosecuting undocumented immigrants..."

Do you think show me your paper laws are a violation of personal rights or the right way to find the legal status of US citizens?